How to Insure your Second Home in France
In France, it is not mandatory to have home insurance for your second home. But as with all insurances, the purpose may justify the investment. It will give you a guarantee to have an indemnification in case of damage on your goods or if your liability has to be engaged. What are the different types of contracts that may exist? What kind of guarantee shall be taken? And how much it may cost? We will help you understand how you can subscribe to home insurance for your second home in France, and answer all the questions you may have.
What is a second home?
Is considered as a second home a place, apartment or house, which you only live in part of the year. Usually, these are places used for holidays or weekends and that are only occupied during a specific period of the year, such as Christmas or the Summer.
According to statistics compiled at the date of 1st January 2016, France has more than 3,395 million secondary homes (and a total of 35,720 million housings).
What is the purpose of home insurance?
A home insurance contract is a contract for landlords or tenants that will cover the home or apartment they live in, in case of damages. It will cover your main home but can also give you guarantees for your second house or apartment.
With home insurance, you can be indemnified in case of theft, natural disaster, glass breaking, fire, explosion… In case of damages on your property or the goods inside you have the possibility to receive a reimbursement at the value you have declared to your insurer.
Two solutions to ensure your second home in France
No matter if you are a landlord or a tenant, you can ask your insurer to bind your home insurance contract of your main home to the one of your second home in France. This said you can also choose to look for a specific agreement and a new French insurance contract for your second home. Both options have pro and contra.
The extension of your multirisk home insurance
If you are satisfied with the home insurance contract you have subscribed for your principal house or apartment, you can ask your insurer to include your second home in the initial contract. It means that your first multirisk insurance contract will apply to both your principal home and your second home in France. Then, as an extension, the guarantee of your initial contract will also apply to your second home except for the theft guarantee and civil liability. Besides, the extension will result in an increase in the premium as you have more goods to cover and guarantee.
- Pros: it is an easy and fast way to have insurance for your second home.
- Cons: Some guarantees may be excluded in the extension, read carefully the amendment to your initial contract.
If you extend your initial contract between your principal residence and your second home in France, you won’t be able to compare with the offers of other insurers and look for a cheaper price somewhere else.
Specific home insurance for your second house or apartment in France
You can also look for a specific home insurance contract for your second house or apartment in France. More and more insurers have offers with multiple guarantees that include some options from the multirisk home insurance. But you will be able to compare and look the details to find the deal that will fit your needs. The best way to find good home insurance is to ask for several quotes and compare the different coverage, guarantees, options and deductibles carefully.
Regarding the fact that it will cover your second home, look carefully for the theft guarantee and the civil liability, as they might be different from your initial home insurance contract.
- Pros: You can create a customized contract that will fit your needs and you can include all the options and guarantees needed for your second home.
- Cons: The premium will be higher, as it is considered as specific contract and you might have not other contracts with this specific insurer you just chose for your second home.
What kind of guarantees should you subscribe to?
You should be vigilant and look for all these guarantees:
Also called “appeal of third parties and neighbours”, this specific guarantee will protect you from disputes arising from damages that you would have caused to your neighbours or any other third party. Your liability may be engaged and sometimes, if you do not have an insurance that would cover this point, the damages may be very high.
Do not hesitate to read your initial home insurance carefully about this specific point and look if you are covered even for a second home. Otherwise, you should ask for an amendment or add an additional option for your second home insurance that would cover your civil liability also.
This guarantee is specific to second homes. Indeed, the guarantee against theft for a main residence is usually inapplicable if the place is not occupied more than 60 or 90 days per year. However, it is the principle for a second home to be empty most part of the year, and specific risks such as a break-in may arise even more frequently than in a main home since its supervision can be tricky.
Theft guarantee that is offered by insurers should have a particular provision regarding the time during which the apartment or the house can be empty yet still covered by the home insurance. In return, the insurer may require you to install specific security systems such as alarm or camera. The insurance company can also put some limitation regarding the value of the goods insured inside the house or the apartment.
Nevertheless, this guarantee seems to be a must-have if you have a second home in France.
Guarantees for damages on your goods
You are covered on your personal goods and your house or apartment in case of:
- Fire, explosion or any similar event
- Water damages,
- Natural disasters.
Other specific guarantees may be offered by your insurer and covering other events such as electrical damages, glass breakage… And, depending on your specific situation it might be useful to subscribe to one or all of these options.
Guarantees if you rent your second home
As a non-occupier owner, you may choose a guarantee called “Non-occupied owner insurance” that will cover your real estate and gives you a civil liability guarantee in case of any damage to third parties caused by your tenant. You can also look into two other guarantees as a house owner:
- Legal protection: your insurer will help you settle a dispute by agreement or with a trial and will handle the lawyer and process fees.
- Unpaid rent: This guarantee will give you the insurance to always be repaid of the amounts due by your tenant that would have not been paid. This option will also cover any damages on your property or any legal fees.
How to find the best home insurance for your second home in France
Your profile and the type of place you want to insure may change the offers and prices of home insurance. Do not hesitate to ask for quotes and feel free to compare the different options and coverage even if it is for your second home.
Look and ask for quotes
Having several quotes is the best way to find the best offer for your needs. Therefore, you will be able to choose a house insurance provider and have the perfect options for your second home.
- You can first go online and look at the prices and guarantees on a price-comparison website. Fill the information regarding your profile (age, familial situation, location of the house or apartment…) and you will be provided with a simulation quote and several different free quotations for your specific situation.
- You can also call or email and ask for quotes directly to agencies around the place you live in. They will give you the answers according to your needs and situation and regarding the second home, you are looking to insure.
- Another option would be to find an insurance broker and ask for several quotes. You will have to give some information regarding your personal situation, the place where your second home is and the goods that you may have inside. You will be provided with one or several free quotes in order for you to have a precise vision of your options.
Compare the different options carefully
If you want to make your choice between different quotes and several offers, look at all the important criteria and especially all these:
- Carefully compare the guarantees offered and whether they fulfil your needs: make sure all the needs you have regarding the specificity of your second home are covered.
- Look at all the exclusions that may exist under the insurance contract. The price may vary depending on the exclusions that are written in the provisions of the offer. Make sure you know all the exclusions and there will be no surprise for you in case of damage to your second house or apartment.
- There are always a deductible and an insurance limit: these two conditions will vary from one insurer to another and even sometimes between 2 different offers provided by the same insurer. It is very important for you to be aware of the maximum amount that you will be able to be reimbursed in all cases of damages. On the same vision, it is as important for you to know the amount you would have to pay as deductible in case of an accident.
- The price may push you to choose one insurer but you should keep in mind that the price should not be the first criteria. A low price may go with low coverage. Look carefully at all the details before you choose. And do never hesitate to ask for quotes and take your time comparing.
Look at the different promotional offers
You will find many different French insurance providers, and time to time some of them will make special promotional offers. Before the summer holidays, you might find some specific promotions for second home insurances. And if there is no specific offer at the time you are looking for insurance, you can still ask the insurance provider for a discount.
Even if you think you just found a good offer and a great promotion, do not forget to compare the coverage. An attractive price is not always a synonym of sufficient coverage, even for your second home!
Each insurer may have a different offer and sometimes all the offers are not visible online, on their website. You can ask for quotes online and you can also call different agencies to ask questions and look for specific answers for your need. Do not forget that, the best way to find a good deal for your second home is to compare the offers!
How to react if you face damages in your second home?
The process is not exactly the same, depending on the damage suffered. In case of theft, housebreaking or attempted theft, you should first, without touching anything, go to the police and file a complaint.
Then, with the proof of the said complaint, you should send a registered letter to your insurer with the following information:
- Your name
- You insurance number
- The details of the fact and damages suffered
- A copy of the complaint
- The estimated value of damages on your goods
- A precise description of the material damages or any suffered injuries
- A description of the damages caused to third parties.
An expert will be sent to your home in order to assert the damages and give an estimation of the amount of the loss.
Keep all the proof of purchase for your valuables as they will be asked in case of damages or theft. In case of water damage or any other natural disaster, all the steps are the same except for the police complaint.
What if you rent your second home in France
The non-occupier owner insurance
If you want to monetize your second home in France, you can still rent it during your absence. But you have to think carefully about the time and duration of your rental as you will not be able to enjoy your place during that occupied periods. If you decide to do so, you should also look for some specific options in your insurance to cover your good during the rental.
The non-occupier owner home insurance is made for landlords who want to rent their place or second home and want to have extra insurance in addition to the one of the tenant. Indeed, the tenant may be covered for any damages that may happen in the house or apartment he or she rent if he or she has a holiday option in his or her home insurance.
Nevertheless, it will always be a security for you to have your own insurance, especially to protect your civil liability as an owner.
The premium is not very high and you can include it in the rents
This option is very important, especially if you rent your home or second residency. Indeed it will cover you and help you find a solution in case of dispute with your tenant. You may receive legal advice from jurists and the fees for any legal litigation can be covered.
Unpaid rent guarantee
To prevent any case of unpaid rent, you can choose to add this specific guarantee. If you want to rent your second home for a long period, you should subscribe to the unpaid rent guarantee that will give you the insurance to be paid in case of failure of your tenant. Some documents will be required from your insurer such as proof of incomes of your tenant.
Having a second home should not be a source of stress for you and leave you wondering whether you will be paid rent every month. So it's always worth looking into this guarantee to bring you peace of mind and compare offers. You should look for insurances and options that would fit your needs in order to protect your good and be able to enjoy it any time of the year.